man standing in a field against a blue sky
Doctoral student Matt Fatino presents his latest research during Weed Day 2023 on the parasitic weed, branched broomrape (Phelipanche ramosa), which threatens California tomatoes and other crops. (Trina Kleist/UC Davis)

Fatino named WSSA graduate student of the month

Matthew Fatino  is a Ph.D. candidate with the Hanson Lab in the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. He was named the Weed Science Society of America graduate student of the month.

What is your long-term goal?
My long-term goal is to land a career in industry or the public sector that enables me to work with growers and stakeholders and help address the issues they face. I have been fortunate to see the positive impacts on growers while working in the industry as well as working with extension professionals of the University of California throughout the state, and would be honored to serve my local stakeholders in either setting.

Man in a maroon shirt
Matt Fatino (courtesy UC Weed Science blog)

What drew you to weed science?
My introduction to weed science was through an internship during my undergraduate degree doing applied research for a chemical company. The applied nature of weed science was very appealing to me, as well as the intricacies of managing weeds in the various specialty cropping systems we have in California.

What is your favorite weed and why?
Branched broomrape, and broomrapes in general, are a very unique and challenging species to work with and I really enjoy the dynamic challenges they present. My least favorite weed by far is field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis.)

What is your favorite thing about the WSSA or your regional society?
My favorite thing about WSSA is its ability to connect scientists from all over the world. Working with a unique weed in a unique cropping system, it is often hard to meet with folks regionally with experience studying or managing branched broomrape in tomatoes. Attending a WSSA conference enabled me to meet with researchers from across the nation and the globe who have experience working with branched broomrape, and our discussions and connections were invaluable to my research and career in weed science.

What is your research focus?
My research focus is on in-season management of the invasive noxious weed, branched broomrape (Phelipanche ramosa). It is a parasitic plant that attaches to a host plant's roots and presents a major threat to the California processing tomato and seed industries.

Related links

More about the Hanson Weed Management Lab.

UC Weed Research and Information Center has lots of resources for weed management, including control of broomrape.

More about Weed Day 2023 here.

Media Resources

This article was first published in the Weed Science Society of America newsletter, October 2023.

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